Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
When Matt Stover came out to attempt a field goal on the Colts’ opening drive, they announced that he was not only the oldest man ever to play in a Super Bowl; he was the oldest player ever to suit up. It was long and he made it. Score one for the old guys.
In the second half he came out for another attempt. This one was also long and this time he missed it. As with every field goal attempt, they replay it and try to tell you why the kicker did or didn’t send it through the uprights. After showing the foot strike the ball, the replay stayed focused on Stover and showed him holding up both arms, pointing to the sky as the kick sailed wide.
How embarrassing is that, I thought to myself, he was celebrating because he thought he made it. And he missed! But the announcer quickly explained that this was not a mistake. Stover, he said, is a very spiritual man and he does that after every kick, whether he makes it or not.
What a wonderful witness.
I am not a big fan of pointing to the heavens. It reinforces simplistic theological images of God as “the man upstairs.” And even if I believed that God was micromanaging our affairs, I would still have a hard time believing that God was guiding footballs.
But Matt Stover’s witness is something quite different. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not about success or failure. It is a blessing to play the game and enjoy the game. It is a blessing to be able to kick the football.
And it’s a blessing to see someone celebrate that.